If you run a business with your spouse, you may be able to work together or at least maintain control over your schedule as you strive to support the family. Unfortunately, a family-run business can lead to a lot of conflict if you start thinking about divorce.
You and your spouse will have to make some very difficult decisions, as long-term investments that both of you have made in the company will be subject to division in your divorce proceeding. Barring a scenario in which you have a pre-existing agreement that protects the business from division, you may have to come up with a solution that both of you feel is appropriate.
What are some of the ways in which you could address your family business in your property division negotiations?
You can sell the company
If the business has proven successful, you can potentially sell the company and all of its existing assets to someone who wants a turn-key business opportunity. Even if the business has gone through a difficult time recently, there may be outside investors interested in its assets. The two of you can arrange for the sale of the company and then divide the proceeds to help both of you meet your own needs in the future.
One spouse can keep the company
Sometimes, one spouse runs the company and the other provides administrative support. If one of you has a professional degree or took over the business that was originally started by a family member, it may be more appropriate for that individual to keep the company and to compensate their ex for a portion of what the business is worth.
If leveraging the business is currently not an option or the couple does not have other assets with a comparable value, an agreement involving alimony payments after the divorce could be a way for the spouse giving up their interest in the business to receive fair compensation for doing so.
You can agree to be business partners
There is no hard and fast rule that you have to stop working together if you intend to divorce. Especially if you have children, the two of you may realize that working together could be in your best interests. Those who do maintain joint ownership will typically need to negotiate thorough contracts that protect their rights and interests in the event of future conflicts.
Considering all of the different ways to handle business assets in your upcoming divorce will help you arrive at the best solution for your circumstances.